"Let's All Go to Lisdoonvarna"
On Louisburgh strand
Near by Croagh Patrick
(which we never climbed but I say we did and who's to argue?)
We camped beside a brick built flush toilet
Ladies and Gents, clean, plenty of paper
Fresh running water from an outside tap
Five star beach bum luxury.
Weather battered farmers
Wearing weather beaten fedoras
Turned up in weather beaten Toyota vans
Pushing their weather beaten faces to wind screens
Checking the sea was keeping tidy.
We'd go, "Isn't it lovely weather we're having?"
And they'd say, "Aw sure look it."
And we'd point to the steaming kettle and ask,
“Will we wet the tea for you?”
"No thanks, don't be troubling yourself."
And Rosalyn would not hear of it,
"Ah go way outta that, of course ye will!"
And we'd all drink tea and shoot the breeze.
Louisburgh being pretty much closed
We found a shop
Open ...at a pinch.
Bought matches, cigars, and asked for a bar.
A man half as old as the elbow patched
Green barleycorn Donegal tweed
His grandfather wore and now his turn
Reeking of pipe tobacco
Asked for a tin of “Foggy Fox”
“On the slate”
Pointed to ‘Feeney's' across the street.
“You're d'em hippies off the beach?
I'll be open as soon as you get there.”
Rosalyn asked, “Do you stock the black stuff - Guinness?”
Yer man scratched his head,
“Guinness, you say? Not much call for that around here.”
And Rosalyn sniffed
She could be sniffy that way
And being from California
Immune to irony.
Our money dwindled as Feeney's filled.
In shades of threadbare tweed
And women too but hen's teeth rare.
The men? Bachelors,
Hoping to strike lucky
Hiding baldness with rococo coifs
Defying gravity and the laws of physics
When Feeney spotted
Our famine of cash
He pulled two pints
And a couple more
“Slainted” with a wink
As we knocked them back.
A gentleman's' accord struck
Without a word.
Next day, truth told, still drunk
We headed out to Roonagh's Quay
To hop aboard the Clare Isle ferry.
I lit cigars and passed one over.
My hand rose a little higher
Than it properly should
With her mind on driving and all
Rosalyn raised her eyebrow
But no objection
Smiled as shudders rippled her spine.
Smiling and shuddering
That's how I like to remember her
She aahed in mock pleasure
Then genuine terror
As the van lurched into a shuck.
Her two last words, “What the….?”
Telegraph poles are scarce
Beside the road from
Louisburgh to Roonagh's Quay
We missed them all
Bar one that mattered.
I crawled from the shatter
And as I struggled to open her door
Ignited the fumes trapped inside.
I go back every August
On my way to Lisdoonvarna
And hang a wreath on the pole
That struck out our life together
And it's drinks at Feeney's
Of the crazy Americano chick
Who blazed like a comet
That summer night
And Feeney pulls three pints
And me and Rosalyn
Stands them on the bar
I offer the punts we chalked
To clear my ancient slate
He asks,“You'll be going down to Clare?”
And when I nod,
Yer man pats my arm,
Shakes his head
Winks and says,
“Next year… plenty soon enough”.